Thames lists progress in green, social and governance measures to up transparency

Thames Water has published its first Environmental, Social and Governance Statement, as part of its bid to boost its legitimacy with customers and stakeholders. The statement brings together key metrics to provide an overview of performance in an accessible, transparent format. It includes three years of data and provides source references. Specifically, the report covers: Environmental performance, including on leakage, pollution, energy generation and biodiversity. Social performance, including on affordability and customer issues, workforce issues, supply chain issues, community matters and corporate social responsibility. Governance, including corporate structure, board issues, executive

Anglian appoints former Kier chief as head of its @one capital projects alliance

Anglian Water has appointed former Kier managing director, Paul Fletcher, as director of its @one Alliance engineering and construction partnership. Fletcher joined the Anglian Water alliance in September 2018 and will formally take over @one in January 2019 to ensure a “smooth transition” the company said. He succeeds Dale Evans who is moving into a consultancy role after leading @one since its formation 2004. Chief Executive of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, said Fletcher : "will lead much of the capital delivery in our largest ever programme between 2020 to 2025 - a £6.5bn investment plan, nearly a third larger than ever before.” He added: "He brings a wealth of leadership experience from

Green watchdog pans "unacceptable" pace of Ireland's wastewater clean-up

Ireland’s green regulator has criticised the state for failing to invest fast enough in waste water treatment with the result that 28 of the country’s largest towns and cities remain in breach of the EU Urban Waste Water Directive (UWWD), well over a decade after the new standards were meant to kick-in. The latest report from the Northern Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on compliance with the Brussels regime also highlighted that wastewater from 57 areas was having a significant impact on rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Equally of concern to the agency was the fact that last year raw sewage from 88,000 residents was discharged into the sea or other waters. Head of enforcement at the

Northern Ireland development stymied by poor investment in sewerage

Northern Ireland Water has warned that lack of funding for public sewerage infrastructure is threatening development across the province. The company has estimated it needs an extra £140 million to make all the improvements needed. To emphasise the point, the publicly-owned company has released details of the location of nearly fifty wastewater treatment plants which are at or near capacity. In areas where the existing public sewerage system is currently operating above design capacity, Northern Ireland Water is not currently approving new connections because of the risk of sewer flooding for existing customers. Chief executive, Sara Venning, (pictured) said: “We’ve been warning for some tim

European Parliament votes on Drinking Water Directive

The European Parliament voted last week on the European Commission’s latest proposals on the Drinking Water Directive. According the Eureau, which represents public and private drinking and wastewater service providers from 29 countries, the Parliament “increased the legal clarity of the Commission’s proposal”. The directive will contain: a new provision to ensure that materials in contact with drinking water are safe and protect public health; a clearer definition of responsibilities between the various stakeholders involved in the implementation of the risk-based approach; the re-introduction of derogations and indicator parameters; an improved definition of information available to the pu

Portsmouth team wins WaterAid global innovation award

Six staff from Portsmouth Water have beaten off international competition to win a prestigious WaterAid award for innovation. The Portsmouth team took home the regional overall winner for best team for Europe and North America award, as one of three successes in the charity’s Winnovators Awards. This was against 30 other teams from the UK, USA, India and Australia. The teams had to overcome a water, sanitation or hygiene-focused problem in India using innovative thinking and fresh creative skills. The Portsmouth team, called the Portsmouth Water Tigers, developed a multimedia toolkit for children aged between six and 14 in India to teach and develop their knowledge on hygiene. The toolkit co

Defra publishes 2018 natural environment indicators report

DEFRA has published its 2018 report on natural environment indicators in England. This includes data on water quality as well as many other green measures including species health, marine ecosystem integrity, land use and ecosystem services. DEFRA reports on England Natural Environment Indicators (ENEI) annually under a commitment that was part of the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper. The purpose was to track progress against the broad ambitions of the White Paper, to communicate this progress to stakeholders and interested users and to provide a robust evidence base on which to base future policy interventions. The 2018 report is, however, likely to be the last as after that, new report

BT chooses self supply

BT is understood to have applied for a self-supply licence. Ofwat is expected to announce shortly that the communications and entertainment giant has applied for a licence to buy water and wastewater services direct from its wholesalers. Like self supply applicants before it, including multiple breweries, Blackpool Council, Coca Cola European Partners and commercial laundries, BT is expected to have partnered with Waterscan to provide support services.

British Water appoints new chief and unveils corporate identity makeover

British Water’s international director Lila Thompson is to take over as chief executive later this year. The water supply chain trade body made the announcement alongside the unveiling of a new corporate identity last Thursday at its 25th anniversary celebration. Current chief executive Lloyd Martin, who announced earlier this year that he was looking to stand down from his post once a successor was found, said the rebrand was “more than a logo or a monogram”. He said it followed a two year long project by the board and was in fact about “a change of personality” for British Water, particularly regarding how it engages externally and conveys how it sees itself to the wider world. Thompson wi

Ofwat’s Water Stories campaign seeks direct customer input to drive policy

Ofwat has launched a new campaign, Water Stories, to connect directly with customers and find out what water means to them. The regulator explained: “For people to have trust and confidence in water, we need to understand what people think about water as a public service.” It has published some individuals’ stories already, and has put out an open call for more – for instance, for water related memories, anecdotes and views. Ofwat said: “We will use these stories to develop a new narrative which will, in turn, be used to drive Ofwat policy and sector behaviour.”

Ofwat revises connection rules as new customer protection goes unchallenged

Ofwat issued revised Wholesale Charging Rules on 16 October, having received no objections to its proposals during the August consultation phase. The rules concern the charges wholesalers can make to retailers for providing new connection services for business customers, when customers request these through the retailer. Ofwat originally published wholesale charging rules in November 2016, and made temporary revisions in March 2018 to offer equivalent protections to customers who take new connection services through retailers as undertakers. On 30 August 2018, it published a consultation on a proposal to make these changes permanent.

Settlement tops MOSL’s list of priority activities for improvement

MOSL has prioritised enabling efficient settlement as one of a number of key areas that will bring real market improvement. The market operator published its Market Performance Operating Plan this month, setting out priorities and targeted activities for delivering its Market Improvement Strategy, published earlier this year. The plan identified the following four market outcomes as having the highest impact on market issues:  Improving the efficiency of settlement, by improving the completeness and accuracy of consumption and supply point information.  Ensuring that there is an equitable and effective market for retailers by reviewing the effectiveness of key market arrangements and ensur

Water UK pledges to halve leaks by 2050 but wants policy support to cut demand

The water industry has told environment secretary, Michael Gove, that it is aiming to cut leakage by 50% by 2050, in line with the recommendation of the National Infrastructure Commission and ahead of the government’s anticipated response to the NIC needs assessment for the sector. In a letter, Water UK chair, Sir Brian Bender, said the ambition was to reduce losses to around 10%. He said this amounted to a “significant departure” from the regulatory sustainable economic level of leakage approach, and was driven by customer sentiment. Sir Brian (pictured) also pointed out that leakage ambition must be set within the context of wider demand management. The letter said companies were taking p

Defra lays draft Order to amend water resource thresholds in the Planning Act

DEFRA has laid a draft Order in Parliament to amend the types and sizes of nationally significant infrastructure for water resources set out in the Planning Act 2008, as part of its work to develop a National Policy Statement for Water Resources. In August, the Department confirmed it would make the following amendments: Reservoirs – The volume held back will be increased to 30 million cubic metres (30,000 Ml) and a qualifying figure of 80 Ml a day deployable output will be introduced. Transfers – the threshold will be reduced from the current 100 million cubic metres to developments which are expected to exceed 80 Ml a day deployable output. This is broadly equivalent to 30 million cubic me

One in four polled are willing to let utility share their data with third parties

More than a quarter of UK consumers would be happy for service providers to share their personal data with charities,other suppliers and other third parties, according to research. by outsourced customer contact firm Echo Managed Services. In a poll of1,000 UK residents on their knowledge and attitudes to debt Echo found that 27% of respondents would be happy for their personal information to be shared if it was used to help the utility better manage its bills or provide more tailored support were they to fall behind on payments. But 20% of those surveyed wouldn’t agree to data sharing, even if it could provide more proactive and personalised debt support. And 29% said they would worry abou

Regulator probes Ireland’s largest-ever water infrastructure project

The Irish government’s housing minister, Eoghan Murphy (pictured), has called on the country’s water regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), to review the state’s largest-ever water infrastructure project. This is an ambition scheme to supply around 40% of the country’s population via a massive piped-abstraction plan which would see treated water from the River Shannon transported cross-country to the capital, Dublin. The scheme, known officially as the Eastern and Midland Water Supply Project, has a price-tag of €1.3bn and would involve abstracting 330Ml of water daily from the Shannon. If built it will require a 170km pipeline which has already triggered opposition fro

South West Water appoints Stantec to new strategic consultant role for AMP7

South West Water has appointed Stantec UK to its newly created post of Strategic Consultant in a review of its engineering delivery alliance H5O was formed in 2009. Stantec will work with South West Water’s Engineering, Asset Planning and Operations teams “for K7 and beyond” while “assisting the delivery partners as appropriate.” The review of H5O carried out over the past year, has includes the addition of six other new partners to plan and execute South West’s capital programme for AMP7. They are: North Midland Construction, Kier, Nomenca, Northavon Group, Tecker, and ChandlerKBS. The framework period is reported as covering five years with an option to extend it to up to ten years. The a

Surface water flooding is deepest threat warns Environment Agency chief

Surface water is the UK’s biggest flood risk according to Environment Agency chief executive, Sir James Bevan, (pictured) who warned it posed “a real and growing threat” to life, property, the economy and the country. Speaking at CIWEM Surface Water Management Conference, Bevan said surface water flooding threatened more than three million properties in England – more people and properties than any other flood risk with 2.7 million premises at risk from rivers and the sea. He called for greater efforts to stem growth in that threat that was being stoked by climate change and other changes. He warned that the risk of surface water flooding was growing as urban populations grew and more deve

Business Stream bags two accolades at Customer Experience awards

UK water retailer, Business Stream, has picked up two honours at this year’s UK Customer Experience Awards: a gold award for Best Utility and a silver for Best Customer Centric Culture. Speaking after the awards ceremony Business Stream’s Customer Operations Director, Jo Mayes, said the two awards: “reflect the huge strides we’ve made in improving customer experience over the past 12 months,” adding, “Our focus now is on developing and delivering further improvements to ensure our customers’ needs and expectations are always met.” Business Steam said it had secured over £155m in new contracts in the first year of the English market and has helped its customers save over 38 billion lit

Anglian chief and Arup finance director appointed Water Aid trustees

WaterAid has appointed Anglian chief, Peter Simpson and Arup finance director Matthew Tweedie as trustees. Simpson and Tweedie were appointed on 12 October along with BT’s chief brand and marketing officer Zaid Al-Qassab. They succeed brand, marketing and business planning consultant, Rosemary Carr, Pennon chief, Christopher Loughlin and acting chief executive of Guide Dogs, Steve Vaid, who have stepped down. Chief Executive of WaterAid, Tim Wainwright, welcomed the new appointees saying: “We are grateful for their commitment and look forward to working with them toward our vision of reaching everyone, everywhere with clean water, hygiene and decent toilets by 2030.” Chair of the boar